HSL is supplying all the LED sources for the current series of the UK talent show X-Factor, with judges Simon Cowell and Sharon Osbourne.
Both lighting director/designer Dave Davey and set designer Christopher George wanted to explore various LED concepts in the show visuals. HSL provided six 10x2.5m high-resolution Soft-LED™ curtains that wrap around the entire back wall of the studio, 180 Color Kinetics iColor® tiles, 130 JTE PixelLine 1044 battens, and 120 lengths of Pulsar ChromaStrip. HSL also provided rigging for the Soft-LED.
The three onstage LED screens are an integrated part of the design (supplied by CT). They are used for the X-Factor logos, for close ups of performers, and for assorted HES Catalyst™ material.
For the set’s LED floor, Davey and George removed the white plastic covers of the Color Kinetics iColor tiles, and replaced them with a slightly frosted floor covering, so the audience can see the definition of the LEDs through them.
A machine running PixelMAD pixel-mapping software outputs various video and digital images to the iColor tiles and the Soft-LED, so the images on screen and in the floor or around the perimeter of the viewing area can be independently controlled.
The PixelLines emphasize the shape of the large, over-stage “X.” The X has a depth of 2m–giving it a 3D feel–so PixelLines are placed around the rear perimeter of the structure, kicking light onto the metalwork along the sides. The light also hits the Perspex border around the font edge of the X, creating a back-lit outline. PixelLines also line the front edge of the stage.
The ChromaStrips detail the left and right walkways down to the stage and border the left and right LED screens, matching them in color and texture with the other LED lighting.
Russell Grubbiak runs the LED lighting and the Catalyst system from a Compulite Vector console. Another Vector operated by Bill Peachment runs the moving lights supplied by PRG.
Davey and his team also work with digital animator Chris Plant, who makes animated graphics on site for them to use in the show. These also run through all the LED sources. As Davey says, “It’s great for getting new looks aside from the standard digital media server effects, and it is a really lively and energizing way to work–creating media on the fly.”
X-Factor is directed by Jonathan Bullen and recorded weekly for ITV at Fountain Studios in Wembley, London.